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Us 30, China 15, U.s. 15, Syria 11, America 8, Kelly 6, United States 6, Iraq 6, Tucson 5, Mr. Lapierre 5, Newtown 5, Chicago 5, Cuba 5, Washington 5, North Korea 5, Somalia 4, Johnson 4, Heller 4, Egypt 4, Asia 4,
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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    January 31, 2013
    1:00 - 5:59am EST  

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time we try reform with the word "amnesty." what i will say to my republican colleagues, we cannot continue to dismiss every type of reform, and every time we try reform with the word amnesty. if we continue to do that, we will be sitting here in 20 years. the complexity of our system will be out of control. we will not be competed with the rest of the world. they will be doing a lot better than we are. with all respect, i don't buy it.
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the definition of amnesty is a full pardon with no penalty. no one is talking about that. no one is talking about handing these folks a passport. no one is talking about a full pardon without penalty. that to come forward and do a background check, they have to pay a fine of back taxes, and then they can achieve legal status, if they want citizenship, which not all of them tdo. there is a separate process for that. one of the principals is, they have to get in line and wait their turn. we were beyond dismissing issues of natural consequence and a huge economic consequence of the future with one word. i say that on both sides. we've got to be thoughtful and be strategic, but i think we are
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at the stage where we need more than one word here. we've got to debate this and come to a way of fixing our system. >> here are the numbers to call. we have a line set up for legal and illegal immigrants. democrats, 202-737-0001. republicans, 202-737-0002. independents, 202-628-0205. tell us about the group you co- founded. guest: it is a group to reach out to republicans to provide support to those republicans who want to support immigration reform.
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this is first and foremost an economic priority. we cannot grow without immigration. have proof of that. anytime we have clamped down on immigration, we have seen it in our economy. this is a first and foremost an economic imperative. many republicans know and see that. we would provide the marketplace with education materials so that people understand this is the right thing to do. we have agreed we're not going to put people on buses and 747's. we're also not going to say, this is a passport for everybody.
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we know the solution is in the middle. that is what we have to work on. rejecting a notion because of a lack of conviction for immigration is going to make matters worse. we have a disadvantage versus canada and australia. they have updated their system. hours dates back to the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's. host: to take a super pac aimed
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at electing republicans dedicated to reforming immigration. let's go to the phones. caller: good morning. i would like to set the record straight. there are not 11 million illegal aliens in this country. there were more like 26 million. obama wants to extend the invitation to come there to these people's families. we could end up with 35 million people. 70% of the people are from mexico and south america. this is why obama was able to get back in as president. we should not be in a position
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where one ethnic group is able to determine the outcome of election. 47% of these people are receiving some form of public assistance. host: we will get a response from secretary gutierrez. guest: i don't know what the source of your numbers are. i have never heard those numbers. they sound incredibly inflated. the thing about immigration that we should think about is that the reason we have undocumented workers in the country is that our laws are dysfunctional. if businesses cannot hire a worker with documentation, either they go out of business or they hire whoever they can. these folks have come to the
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u.s. because their jobs. they did not come seeking welfare. undocumented unemployment is lower than the national average because they come to fill jobs that would be vacant if they were not here. when the job market is no longer market, they will not come. we need to fix our laws so are system enables us to bring in the workers we need to grow our economy legally. host: the caller mentioned the term 47% above those who use public services. that is a phrase mitt romney used. you were working with the mitt romney campaign. there was some criticism since the campaign wound down.
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guest: we have talked about the process -- the governor had to take some positions in order to get nominated or to be the party's candidate. then take different positions in the national election. that is a system the party should be talking about. it is very tough in this day and age. the idea of self-deportation. i think it was very poor advice. what it said to immigrants was get out, we do not what you here. he talked about having a comprehensive reform plan in his first year.
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people were still asking about his statement of self- deportation. i think that was a part of whatever criticism i may have had. i believe we misread the immigrant population. they would say in polls, we want education and immigration would be number 5 or number 6. immigrants are not worried about that anymore, they are worried about jobs. that's not true. immigrants want them to know and the word get those vibes from our party and our
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candidate. it is a feel that people have about who wants to be in this country. host: teresa is a legal immigrant. good morning. caller: good morning. i have been in this country for 12 years. i did my master's and then my ph.d. right now i'm working with an h- 1 visa. i have tried to apply to a waiver. they keep on refusing me. i have my ph.d. i'm becoming so frustrated.
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it is easier to become an illegal immigrant in this country. it sends a message out there. don't go through the line. it is so frustrating you try to do the right thing. they take somebody's social security number. there are americans in this country that do not want to work. it is easier to do things the illegal way. they should find a way to help people that want to go through the right system to be legal immigrants. i have spent almost $20,000 and that is from private loans. you are taking loans and you cannot pay for it.
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it is beneficial to be an illegal immigrant. host: thank you, teresa. guest: it is an excellent comment and a great example of what is wrong with our system. to follow legal channels has become more difficult then to find a way of going around the rules. the rules and laws do not work. they are too bureaucratic. you have to go through four different agencies. four months go by and the harvest is over. the system is not helping her. our quotas for that segment of
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immigration are too low. we need to increase those. we have companies that are building research and development centers in canada. it is a great example of why we have to fix the legal immigration system to prevent the undocumented immigration system. host: carlos gutierrez is the co-founder of the super pacs, as been for immigration reform. we have some comments on twitter. this is from rick. tj says -- host: velo tweets in.
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diana from tampa. caller: thank you for having me. i believe he is from cuba. my husband came here over 30 years ago from cuba. he is not seen his daughters or grandchildren. he pays $400 every year just to stay in the united states. we need to open up to cuba. the economy there has been such a struggle. we should be more empathetic to the spanish people.
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most of these companies that hire undocumented workers, most are republicans. i think they play on the other side of the fence. they wanted to immigration but the pay them $5 or $6 an hour. i believe the mexicans that want to work hard, we should have them stay here and try to get their citizenship. thank you. guest: if i could say to the caller, when i came from cuba, we are immigrants and political refugees. one thing i remember about the
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country was help welcoming it was. i felt that people wanted me to succeed and people would celebrate my success. i did not speak a word of english. but people were welcoming. in the case of the undocumented workers, there is a bigger argument here, i think it is a time for national reconciliation. these folks across the border 10, 15 years ago or five years ago. some people come through airlines. "go north and you can find a job." they found employers that were willing to hire them. they had to be hired. the legal processes do not work
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very well. some do not work at all. they have been making our produce and growing our fruits and vegetables and mowing are lawns, doing all these things we take for granted. there is something unfair about putting all the burden on the one individual who came over to do just one thing and that is to work. i think we have to come to grips with that. there is a matter of national character and honor that says we have to admit we have a problem. we are all accountable. let's work together to get this fixed. i would like to think history
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will look back and say that was a moment of great character for the u.s. and not a blemish on our history because we do not have a great history when it comes to low-skilled immigration or new immigrants. it happens to be hispanic immigrants. go back 50, 60 years ago. we went through the chinese exclusion act. every group has faced the problem. the power of immigration has always won out. belief in our system. this idea that immigrants will change our language and take
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over our cultural is a lack of confidence in the american magic. people come to the u.s. and want to be american. they want to be part of the mainstream. we only speak one language. chinese companies can read our plans but we cannot read theirs. we should have more faith in american society and this incredible experiment that has been american democracy. people come here and become americans. that is our great advantage. host: a headline in "national journal."
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host: looking at a chart from "national journal." 131 of the house republicans represent districts that are mostly white. republicans have the majority of those. the numbers diminish. is there any incentive to vote for immigration reform? guest: yes, absolutely. if we are the party of growth and the party of prosperity and free markets and individual
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opportunities, then we must be the party of immigration. there is a strategic inconsistency of being the free-market party and individual opportunity and upward mobility and all the great things our free-market system can do and not be the party of immigration. so immigration is an important economic imperative. i am pleased to see it members like paul ryan, who is a leader. people will follow john mccain and marco rubio and others. it is the right thing for our country and the right thing for our economy. republicans have -- should have more interest in getting this reform passed than democrats.
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i think we won it for all the right reasons and that is because we want the hispanic votes. it is the right policy. host: we must do better at has a different opinion on twitter. let's go to ann in florida. good morning. caller: good morning. i think you're the most wonderful example of immigration in our country. i am a little nervous. i am a republican. i was concerned about the speech by marco rubio. how do you think our current administration president is going to follow in forcing identification?
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i'm in florida. how the enforcement by the republican platform that they unveiled will be addressed in terms of following our border rules and that sort of thing. thank you. guest: thank you. that is a good question. senator rubio issued a press release talking about that aspect of it. the president did not identify border triggers before we allow legalized undocumented workers to apply for a green card if
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they choose to do so. the subject of a security is the essential. no country in the world needs to be apologetic for one to secure its borders and to know who is in the country. that is a right of every sovereign country. our situation is complex. it is the borders and the airports. a lot of it is a system of the physical border but also being able to track who enters at an airport, the visa expired but they have not left. we have a lot more technology than the last time we tried this.
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we can do things like provide the private sector with verification tools that enable you to get a match on a social security number, and we should put that technology to work. it is the border and the airports and verify who is in the country and applying for work. we have the technology to do it. we to ensure we get this done in a way that makes sense for our system. that will help us in many years if we have that kind of system. president obama promised he would do this in his first year. he did not. the worry is we go at this again and it doesn't work. the president gets all the political points. the republicans get all the
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political blame. a political victory but not a strategic victory for the country. we need to make this a national purpose of policy and not an exercise in politics. i hope we'll keep our eye on that. that is going to be the big challenge. host: we have an idea from jbc. al in rhode island, hi, al. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. the american people want immigration but they want legal immigration.
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we do not one no favoritism for anybody. you talk about language. the chinese came here. it is not right. this president is so far off the ball. we will bring 11 million more people into this country when we don't put those people to work first? i did not think that is right. we have other problems that are more important. we're flooding this country with unskilled workers. guest: the only reason on skilled workers come to this
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country is because there is unskilled work that needs to be done that frankly americans do not want to do anymore. go back decades, there was a time when you worked on the family farm. there was a time somebody would be a truck driver. that is life and my kids will do better. americans are very different today and their skill levels is higher. these are job openings that the economy has. if we went back 20 years, we would not have grown as fast as we have grown. as part of this national reconciliation and being big about this, these undocumented workers have made a tremendous
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contribution to our economy. people like to talk about fairness. all of a sudden we say, get out. i think we have to do the right thing for the brand equity of the u.s. host: did you want to respond to a tweet about getting the border part done first? guest: until we fix our laws, we will not care rid of undocumented immigration or illegal immigration. the reason we have illegal
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immigration is because we do not have legal processes to be able to bring people in. it is like our laws do not recognize that immigration is an annual affair. we need immigrants every single year. our work force has to be growing every single year. unless we have that understanding and to make up for that reality through our laws, we are going to have a dysfunctional system. i agree with the caller. border security and being able to decide who comes into the country is very much our obligation and right.
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unless we fix our laws, congress is making it difficult to stop immigration. host: mike is our last call. caller: i am a democrat and african american in this country. the congressman that yelled "you lied" to the president -- i wonder if he tells the truth. 11 million illegal immigrants staying in this country. will they qualify for obamacare? when you say immigrants, she know the people are talking about illegal immigrants. they are not talking about
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legal immigrants. guest: that is a good point. part of this issue is not just what you do about the 11 million undocumented. they are here and working and have families. the point about obamacare -- the president talked about entitlements if they choose to get in line and apply for a green card and wait that time and they can have access to in, programs as the law demands today. that means they would not have obamacare. if they do, that changes the economic equation dramatically. a profound strategic statement.
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people come to our country today to work. they come to do what all immigrants have wanted to do. they want to contribute and stay out of trouble and they want access to this incredible society that we have. many people go to european countries because of the entitlement systems. they go for the wrong reasons. i would hate to think future immigrants come to the u.s. for our entitlements. it has never been that way. they come here to work. they know their children will do better than they will. they also want to dream. we want to be careful about what kind of a country we are. people are going for the
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entitlements and not the work opportunity. host: secretary carlos gutierrez, thank you for joining us this morning. on the next "washington journal, a look at the u.s. auto industry. we'll preview what is expected for car sales this year and talk about all rossetti in federal regulation. our guest is matt blunt. washington journal is live on c- span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. wednesday, senior executives at
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honda and chrysler endorse new regulations on gasoline. you can see the entire event at our website, c-span.org. >> given the fact that gasoline seems to be the dominant choice of fuel for the foreseeable future, as we talked about in the previous panel, moving forward on regulations to lower the sulfur in gasoline at a hollywood to the white house review today after being a little bit delayed because of the presidential election. nobody wants to be perceived as creating higher gasoline prices. i would like to hear from the automakers about what your position in on these regulations and why you think these are important steps to take. >> just by the nature of how it worked out, and the epa did join
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the debate, as we start working towards national standards at that time. we have been supportive of having those rules released a year ago. fuel is a very important feature and the sulfur content -- they need low-sulfur fuel to live. it's great to see that potential coming. the next that has to be opening it up to lower carbon fuels in general and that will be the discussions we have over the next few years. >> tier 3 is really about two things.
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lower sulfur, which is required to get the lower cost catalyst so that we can burn the gasoline as cleanly as possible, and about phasing in -- california has a cleaner regs, and we are all in favor of having won national program which consistent rules, regardless of the state. it is really about getting california level fuels' and we are all very supportive of it. will be a trivial amount of increase in the cost of gasoline and i think everyone should be supportive of it. >> coming up next, a preview of the president's state of the
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union address and how foreign and defense policy will be handled. then senator kirsten gillibrand discusses bipartisan safety legislation. later, former representative gabrielle giffords on gun violence. >> on thursday, a hearing on u.s. workers and retirement savings. live coverage from the senate health education and labor and pynchon's committee. that is live thursday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. >> we are the best country in the world. what a marvelously stupid thing to say. of all the countries in the world, pretty good. what we have to believe that we
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are the best? what does that mean? and once we have to assert it all of this time? what does it mean to other people? american products go around the world, so you are observed by people in every corner of the world. and we teach them not to like us. gratuitously. >> randall robinson, taking your calls, e-mail, facebook comments, and tweets. sunday at noon eastern on book tv on c-span2.
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>> president obama is set to deliver the state of the union. a discussion on how foreign policy and national security issues will be handled in the president's second term. this is an hour and 20 minutes. >> good afternoon, folks. good afternoon, folks. can i get everyone to sit down and to quietly? thank you. i think we are going to start here. good afternoon, everybody. i am the vice-president for foreign defense studies at the american enterprise institute. welcome to the first in our annual series of state of the
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union policy events. every year, aei scholars come together and we look forward to the challenges of the year ahead and policy questions that have been raised and are likely to come up, and try and look forward a little bit, think a little bit about what the right answers are to the questions that are being posed. it is and as the events we do with only aei fellows. we are happy to be -- together with them. i will lay out what the other events are at the end of the session. let me introduce those who are here with me at the table. on the far left, so to speak, is a resident scholar at aei in asian studies. he specializes in japan. next to him is fred nagin and executive director of our
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critical brett project. next to me is tom donnelly, co- director of our center for security studies. we are going to try and have a bit of a conversation here, although because we have three microphones, apparently from the year 1974, that may be a little bit difficult. i know you will be patient with us as we try and go back and forth a little bit and make it a little bit more likely for you. we have an audience on the outside, so we will talk a little more fully and less in shorthand about some of the issues that are familiar to all of you. sequestration, things we can refer to in a word. i will ask my colleagues to be a little bit more fulsome in
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describing themselves can have a complete discussion with the rest of the world who watches this on streaming video. in any case, we have the state of the union address coming up soon. i suspect that much like the inaugural address that obama gave, it will be pretty light on national security, of this national security is not really a huge priority right now. we are nation-building here at home, something that not just candidate obama, but also candidate romney, agreed about. we are looking at unprecedented cuts in spending on national security. we are looking at the prospect of drawing down from afghanistan. we are looking at a lot of changes. not just here in the united states, but in the world. one of the questions i know that we have is whether we are ready for the exchanges. i suspect that most of us believe we are not.
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tom, make -- maybe you could start as out and talk about the sequestration that paul ryan told us this weekend is going to happen. >> it is a prediction that at this point seems like a certainty, but i would argue it has been a near certainty once beat sequestration provision was written into the budget control act. i will talk a bit about sequestration per se, but i would regard it as a symptom and not the disease itself. the disease itself is erosion to the point of vanishing, almost, of the bipartisan political consensus for military string, for peace through strength, as people used to say. that is really something that over the course of my career has
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been a touchstone, something that people could build upon. you could argue about what kind of strength we could have, the quality of the strength, these bert -- these forces versus those forces. there was a bipartisan condition that american military power was a necessary condition in a dangerous world. and that was a good thing. i think both those underlying pieces of political consensus have evaporated. let's talk a bit about sequestration and the gruesome budget numbers the defense department faces. as danny mentioned, mr. ryan has acknowledged, again what i would say has been in the cards from the start, that there is going to be yet another round of defense cuts this year, about
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$55 billion will be sequestered, in ways that will be equally injurious to the department. it is not just that this is an automatic, across-the-board meat cleaver approach, but there was some wiggle room granted to the president, particularly, he has chosen to preserve personnel benefits. the cuts that have to be made coming as they will, about halfway through the budget year will fall disproportionately on weapons procurement and research, but in particular, on the operations that go for making trained and ready units for deployment. because the set of accounts also includes things that are sort of automatically of certain amount of health care spending for defense health programs, it means that an even larger
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burden will fall on those relatively rapid spending accounts that are most directly associated with making units ready to deploy to combat theaters. i am sure the department will say -- in fact last week, karen did he said we will manage these cuts in a way that non critical readiness accounts will be protected. when you come down to it, there's not much that is not preclinical to readiness. -- that is not pretty critical to readiness. buying ammunition and gasoline, paying the contractors who run the ranges, who masquerade as enemy combatants at training centers, and so on and so forth. the idea that this is not going to have a pretty quick effect on
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combat effectiveness of guys and gals going into harm's way, that is just eight fiction. -- that is just krugman. -- just a fiction. it is more likely that the president's 2014 budget will chart a course forward for the defense department's, where in sequestration level spending becomes the ceiling and not the floor. we have no real clue what his thinking is other than what he has revealed in his inaugural speech. but he is not a guy who believes the tide of war is receding, and even if it is not receding, there's not much of a war that the united states should get involved in. therefore, we can afford to reduce military spending investments in military power,
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reinvest it elsewhere, not so much cut the deficit, but use the money saved for his priorities, his domestic priorities. >> this is the problem with some of us having three mics. part of the problem is that -- the notion that we do not have wars we want to fight. in some ways that is an acceptable notion. a man who was selected as commander-in-chief gets to make those decisions. in some ways he is absolutely right to suggest that he has a mandate in these areas. the real question is the impact these decisions have on the
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environment that the u.s. is in. for most of history, we have maintained a strong military, not so that we can fight, but so that we can not fight. the other. that time made that is important -- the other point that tom made is to understand what is involved in military operations. there is a piece on the web that explains exactly what it is we can do with the troops we have at the president makes critical decisions about afghanistan. it is not just about bureaucrats in d.c.. fighting a war is a big logistical exercise. do you does want to talk about that and several surrounding decisions? >> we have become very accustomed to throwing around numbers of troops, and people have gotten way too comfortable with pulling numbers out of the
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air and discussing them as though they were serious. the effect of that is that very few americans actually understand that there is a method for figuring out how many troops are actually needed to accomplish something. when the recommendation comes from a military commander, this cannot just, as this white house seems to think, the commander asking for everything he thinks he might possibly get as a negotiating tactic, because he always wants more troops. it is the result of a very complicated staff process. that can only be performed by military staff. when your numbers coming out of the white house, you should be asking yourself, which military step did the analysis to figure out how many troops are actually required? as an example, when the president talks about keeping 3000 troops in afghanistan, here is the problem. you cannot keep a base in afghanistan with only 3000 troops.
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because once you start looking at what the country's requirements are on the ground in order for those troops to be safe, to be fed, to have ammunition, in order for the basic functions of a military organization to be carried out -- remember the troops need to get paid. forms need to be submitted. since the days of the cold war, we have report -- regarded as the burtless, are actually vital to keeping things working in the field. when you start asking questions like how many troops would we need a base in afghanistan, you quickly say which bass? because it matters. you need to be able to land fully loaded cargo aircraft, because it is a landlocked country, which nobody seems to be tracking on in this entire discussion.
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my colleague and many other seem to have forgotten the value of having a seacoast if you are trying to do logistics from offshore, as it were. there is no offshore in afghanistan. there needs to be a 10,000 foot runway. that means someone needs to secure the perimeter around the runway. that is a big task. we know what the threat is. the enemy groups have repeatedly attacked our bases with multiple cocotte bombs, followed by light infantry, followed by rockets. that is standard practice. we know something about what kind of defensive perimeter is required, and we can count that up. other things people don't tend to track on, do you want american soldiers in combat to have medical care or not? what is the attrition rate the president is willing to accept among wounded soldiers in the wars to which he has sent them? if you want soldiers to survive the kind of injuries that they
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encounter in these operations, you need to have a free medical clinic somewhere in that theater. if you have only one base, it must be at that base. a medical clinic is 200 people. we are going to do this all with predators drones. the great thing about bronze is they are unmanned systems. i quote a general on the subject of what a misnomer is to call them unmanned aerial systems. the only thing that is an unmanned is the actual plane. you have ground crews for them because they need to be fuelled, repaired, armed, and you need to have about 50 people on the ground for every four predators that you want to have. none of which is very interesting when you put 50,000 troops in a theater, which is one of the reasons why no one has heard these kind of discussions.
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when you get to the level of saying i want a cap of 300 troops in the middle of the hindu kush, then you have to start getting into these conversations. even if by maximum use of contractors or local security forces, we could maybe keep 3000 troops there, to coin a phrase, it would be a self licking ice- cream cone. it would be able to accomplish nothing other than to defend itself. this is one of the reasons why it is a good idea in general terms to let professional military staff actually go through a technical process and figure out exactly what kind of truth and what varieties are needed in order to accomplish a particular mission. it would be helpful if the president ordering troops into
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combat would take seriously the kind of assessments that he receives from the people who know how to do this. >> i think fred will have an answer for this as well. it is not just the debate about afghanistan or the wisdom of staying there. it is about the nature of the fight as we move forward, 11 plus year now since 9/11, in the battle against al qaeda. that is the battle that is taking place in afghanistan but elsewhere as well. the new paradigm is special forces. it is that we can do things by remote control and with what i like to refer to as a lot of
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guys in beards with suitcases full of cash. then we really don't need the men and women that fred is talking about. interestingly enough, in the last week we haveget related announcements coming out of the pentagon. i was looking at one just now because i was trying to remember the numbers. the pentagon is beefing up its cyber security force. the other one that is apparently being beefed up in these times of budgetary constraints or the special forces. tom, would you talk about that generally, and fred, if you talk about that in the broader nature of it. then we will get to the nonexistent challenge that faces us in asia. >> these new capabilities, cyber
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operations or whatever you want to call them, are certainly necessary and needed, and our ability to exploit the electromagnetic spectrum configured as the internet is pretty critical. it is not qualitatively different from other forms of intelligence gathering or attempts either by propaganda means or by direct attack took back the military or strategic situations. to some degree it is understandable, but as fred alluded, particularly direct action special operations unit don't just magically appear and sustain themselves. if you have seen "zero dark
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thirty, is a great picture of how the intelligence manhunt for osama bin laden went. the airline appears at this brown looking base and all these guys start walking out of a tent. how did they get here? who puts feel in their helicopters? they are sitting around playing horseshoes when they are not going out trying to kill bad guys. the idea that somehow magically they are up on stage is ludicrous. these are amazing capabilities that we have, but if they are not nested in conventional forces, even when a counter- terrorism forces are as effective as our r and as they
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possibly in the world war can be, that is not enough to procure the outcome that we want. the guys that are the high value individuals in the tribal areas, there are a lot more guys like that aroundthe largere region will not get any better. you could treat the symptoms, possibly, at great expense, but we will not secure the underlying disease. every time we secure the bad guy, they will too. >> i think it is interesting to look back over the last four years outside of iraq and afghanistan and at iraq as we pulled out our forces in 2011.
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the administration has basically been experimenting with the model of relying on drone strikes and the special forces rate in yemen and somalia and libya. iraq, we are not even doing that. syria, we are not doing that. there are more dudes with longer beards and more money. that is a huge problem because they have been preferentially funding jihadis and not the people we would be supporting. that is because we do not like putting boots on the ground. we have not yet figured out how to keep their boots off the ground. you are saying, no special forces, either. you are saying you will vaporize a number of enemies. how has that worked out for us. in the last four years, the administration has seen the
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single most dramatic expansion under the control of al qaeda in history. we are pricing ourselves now on progress we have think -- we think we have made in yemen. this is one of the things we track closely on the day to day basis. if you look at somalia, the localountaveade significant government chaos alled this oup to persist is questiable stab resolution the. e in the meaime, seen a flood resulted e way we lef
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behind lyand alone t iiltrated into the iraq openlynnouednd it had government after demonstrators were killed. has bn maneuvering s, cking ofy i think one of the f between our
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interests and what happens in these countries. we often speak of them as if somehow there is an absolute. the vast amount of americans do not give a -- do not care what is going on. the same in iraq. can you quickly make that connection? >> the problem is it takes one to make war. we can say we think the tide of war is receding and we can persuade ourselves, but if our enemies think they will attack us, we have a problem. all the groups i have identified not only share a common ideology focused on attacking us in our homes, but almost all of them have made attempts to attack us in our homeland and
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will continue. i am not suggesting there is an easy solution. i am not suggesting i want to invade every one of these countries. the experiment of relying on offshore balancing, drones, and limited special forces operations has failed. we need to find another solution and take the threat seriously. >> really quickly. at this point, there is almost more problems than we can deal with immediately, simultaneously. the problems that are coming in syria and egypt and iraq, those are traditional power centers. they are developed. other nations in europe have
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interests. the saudis have interests. the idea that afghanistan we used to think of as the dark side of the moon, africa is on the other side of the dark side of the moon, it is rugged and remote territory, but damascus is not. cairo is not. bank that is not -- baghdad is not. >> i wonder if you would talk a little bit about what we see in the pacific, not just about china, but about some of the problems we are seeing. if you can, link it back to some of the economic questions we face and the prosperity we have gotten used to up to a point. >> you know how asia feels now
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in these discussions. waiting for attention to turn to it. when it comes, it is quick. [laughter] let me mention three things i think will be on the radar that we should be a rate which aware of. then we can get back to the broader discussion about the economics. if tom was talking about the immediate game and fred the short-term gain, asia sees itself as a short-term game. they've you what is going on there in short terms. whatever i am about to mention, they do not think it will be resolved tomorrow. they do not think the trends they are dealing with are about to end. it is not just china. it is japan, india, southeast asia trying to understand what the correlation of forces and the balance of power will become.
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part of the frustration asia feels is that it is so and media-focused. understand why that is important. their concern is that we do not have that same analytical ability to think out as long as they do and look at how this world will look into thousand 30. i think for the most part, the haitians flip through it with interest and do not take it seriously. one of those things i think we should pay attention to that are of a more immediate concern, first, north korea. the second is the china-japan's bat. the third is managing the overall relationship with china. north korea, we seem to be going back into the same dance where we assume we will have an outrageous action by the north koreans. some type of plea will then be
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made to come back to the talks. what has changed a little bit is the rhetoric you see coming out of north korea now seems to be sharp. it is not that they have not crawl at the enemy before. it is becoming very directed at the u.s.. if i were in the minds of the north koreans, i would be more confident to do that because we see success on the fronts they want to have success in. they are now moving along the road where they can think about targeting at least parts of american territory. they do a third nuclear test, moving down the road to westernizing and putting it on these successful missiles. it is hard to overestimate how jumpy this makes the rest of the neighborhood. there is a sense of frustration
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washington does not take it as seriously. whether it has been a republican or a democratic administration, the u.s. does nothing. there are no more read the lines asians think we have with regard to north korea when we move on from that -- i want -- the only question i would raise is, are we prepared for when our allies believe they can no longer wait. south korea has made that clear. the japanese with a new administration are making it clear, as well. between china and japan, there is a group of islands. they sit on rich oil and gas deposits and form the bottom of a rigid and important change that can be used to block the navy from moving into the western pacific. they have been a source of daily confrontations between japan and
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china. you have two new administrations. there is a hardening of positions on both sides. i have not talked to anyone who takes them particularly seriously. we are one incident away from a major conflict between japan and china. do i think there will be a war? no. the tensions in both countries mean this would not be an easy area to solve. whoever backs down, either before or after conflict will lose an enormous amount of credibility. both sides know that. that is why they are moving forward. the third thing is managing this broader relationship. here is where i will get back to what danny said. this is the long game. despite the missteps' you see in china over the past couple of
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years, where sun sought -- sunshine diplomacy was revealed to the inside and iron fist and a velvet glove, the territorial disputes in the south china sea and east china sea, the pressure being put on taiwan, means china has not fundamentally recalculated its strategic interests. i think you see this in the pronouncement. you see they look very carefully to become an america they firmly believe is retrenching. they believe is impoverishing itself. they believe it is more and more dysfunctional. this goes right to the core of what tom was talking about. the asians can count as well as we can. in fact, better. [laughter] they know what the numbers are. people ask me about sequestration.
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they know and they are watching, despite all the red -- rhetoric, that there is a fundamental reality of how many resources you have and the size of the region they are in. to finish up, i have a piece tomorrow talking about the first steps the air force is taking on biting the bullet. it goes right to the core of the concept of readiness. an official told me the other day he is expecting when this hits, when he gets into the timeframe, that he will go down to, at best, 40% combat capable of his forces which have been engaged. the other percentage will go to basic mission cave -- basic mission capable. our friends understand regardless of what you say, you look 10 years down the line.
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the possibility or likelihood of america having the same presence it does today is unlikely. >> let me push back at you with the favored theory of offshore balancing. this is increasingly popular as a contract for american national security. this notion that somehow we can pull back and yet we can leave out. when we are urgently called upon. but we -- when we are not. when it is not a war between japan and china. we can really allow countries to manage their own neighborhood and we can sub contract to regional powers. russia, eastern europe, china, asia. since people fail to think
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through the implications, i want to see if we can play that out. our asian allies have not failed to think this through. >> there are two problems. one is political and one is practical. everything you said is right. that falls in the phase zero. if you are not there, present, the agents question extraordinarily why you will come in when the stakes get much higher. they do not need to think out to the existential question, hoping for the good old days. chinese trading down on them. does the nuclear umbrella still hold? for them, the credibility is your daily presence. we have already been doing offshore balancing because we have had the filipinos, our allies. they came to us and said, are
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you backing us up? what are you doing? the administration's response has been, we take no position on issues. we want to see the status quo maintained. i think that is the right position. is not for us to defend japan's territory. it is for us to understand how the balance of power is changing. by not reacting, we are changing the actions of our allies. china has come out on top. the one that is playing out right now is the most dangerous of them all. the second part of why balancing is problematic is going exactly to what fred is talking about. it is the practical. if you start pulling back from the region and go to hawaii and other region that can be better defended, you have to get back in when needed. it is extraordinarily expensive. even in a steady state, you have to go back in. that means bringing basis back
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up to par. that means getting your logistics training going. as you point out, we do not think what it takes in this enormous time from san diego to the moloch a straight. if we come out, the cost of going back in, our friends know it immediately. even when we have been there for 60 years, how many times do you see a great hole? not that much. thousands of miles of water. >> there is another thing you all noticed that we did not bring up. it says something that it did not come up first and foremost. i did not say anything about iran. i spent all my time looking at foreign policy issues and that is one of my issues. sful is increasingly h bn ma left are borei thk thotiois the unitegedt
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not matter.doothi you canake for $10 llione nice to seentin.see i is u . we want to stay out of it because they question whether we would be committed to it. would drag them in and leave them exposed to a situation which had been disrupted through con -- conflict and violence. >> really quickly, because fred's comments reminded me of concluding a marks -- remarks. that helps us bring it back to the larger political discussion. not only are we failing to manage the world in a way that will leave our children in a
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safer environment. dudgeon by the faces i am looking at, you people, we are leaving a lot of work for you to do, but we are leaving many less means to do with it. not because we are demobilizing after a war. even if you accept that paradigm. the money is going to entitlement programs. the money you want to read mobilized to defend yourself will be in my retirement health- care accounts. we can either try to do it then, take away entitlements from people in a crisis circumstance, or we can begin to govern our appetites now. if somebody -- some day we wake up and the world is remaining a dangerous place and we have to do something about it, that involves using armed force, that we can then move -- mobilize our wealth to do that.
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we are setting ourselves up for circumstances in the not too far distant future. that will be much much harder and it will be historic plea an unprecedented situation for this country to be in. >> let's open up questions. forgive me, but i do not have a microphone to hand around. i will repeat your question so it is audible for the audience. this gentleman over here and then i saw a hand there. >> you criticize the obama administration approach pretty well. what are the answers? what is the answer in somalia and [indiscernible] >> the question is that the criticism of the obama administration on its actions in a variety of these in somalia
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was persuasive but what is the right answer? >> i do not have a right answer. there is not a simple right answer for these various places. i think we need to get beyond a very by neri view of troops on the ground and no troops on the ground in situations here. i think it is in our interest to find a way to work with local partners in order to combat local groups to help them govern territory -- territory -- territories. it started by a democratic president who was enthusiastic about this kind of thing. john f. kennedy. this is one of the things the special forces was created to do. this is an advise mission and an enabled mission.
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we would probably be in a somewhat better place. but we do have to face some hard questions. the questions are, what do you do where you do not have partners and where to go up the escalation ladder and are you going to be drawn in a war in every place? the answer is you do not want to be and you do not have to make a hard decision in any case about the risk of going down one path or the other. it has to be contingent, not ideological. it is now ideological in the opposite direction from the bush years. now we are saying we will never be on the ground. you cannot allow yourself and your brain to the short circuit did by slippery slope arguments. we always live on a slippery slope. the question is making the right decisions. you really cannot make the decision honestly until you see the concrete choices in front of you in each case.
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>> [indiscernible] western hemisphere, but italy the? western hemisphere, which i did not touch on. and the instability from the drug cartels. are you capable of talking about that a little bit? >> yes. first of all, that has always been our defense of the continental or legal united states. that has been our principal security interest ever since before we were a nation. it is a moment in time -- through history, parents have
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gone back and forth about liberal regimes in the area. we have a lot partners with whom we could be working. we have partnerships with columbia, which has been a pretty low level thing. one which the house of representatives has traditionally kept very close tabs on. is a model, counter insurgency through partnership. if we had a that model in some of our middle east engagements, we would have been much better off also today. to suggest -- it is possible to work with the brazilians. they were the leading force in the un mission in haiti. some good things have been happening, even while these cartel out bridges are happening.
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there -- they are a serious threat to the stability of mexico and the border. absolutely, but likewise, it will take a fairly traditional approach. >> part of the problem is at this table. latin america, the western hemisphere does not yet addressed in washington unless it is the latest on travis' health. may be an election in venezuela. or some fire in brazil. that is what makes the newspaper. that is part of the problem. it is part of the challenge to congress. a big part of the answer to every single question is, you cannot beat something with nothing. if you want to beat the constructs that america must retreat from the world, it is the value embraced by the obama
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administration, you have got to beat it with something. that means capitol hill. if it is not, it will not happen. we are not capable of doing it. that is a historic reality. in the 1990's, when bill clinton said it is the economy, stupid. legislated sanctions on ira andn how push for sanctions on cuba, which pushed for exactly what you are talking about. that pushed for a new relationship in india. i could go on and on. all the things we take for granted were not initiatives of the clinton administration, but of members of congress here on capitol hill who changed the world in a meaningful way. that is still an opportunity if
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only we recognize it is something to care about. you have two formal -- former capitol hill people here. >> how do we know when we have one? counter-terrorism. is there a metric? is there anything? >> the question is how do we know if we have one. >> do not worry about it. we are in no danger of winning any time soon. [laughter] it is a fair question. what is your metric for success. and how do we know when we can stop. we are so far away from that now. we are further away from that than when this president took office. the policies he is recommending will take us further way because until we can stop measuring the
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hairs that are actually governed by al qaeda affiliates, i guarantee you the question of whether we have one or not is not operative. right now, that measurement is on the increase, rather than the decrease. it is a fair question. i think we need to recognize where we are in history. this is more like 1943. hopefully, we will stop the retreat here. at that point, the soviets were not thinking so much about what kind of peace they would impose on germany when they're done. they would think about how they would recover the ground lost in their own interests. that is where we are now. we have lost so much ground and we are about to lose so much more that that is the conundrum that faces us right now. >> i think there is an answer. if you look back, we were winning in iraq after the surge
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in 2007. winning actually is not just a game in the playground. it is not just a, thank you very much. we are done here now. winning requires maintenance. when you choose not to, it is very easy to go back to losing again. the implications may not be obvious until later. i think the president has written a great deal about what the implications of having a force in iraq have meant for the stability of the country and for our own national interests. and the national interests of our allies in the middle east. >> you mentioned a war between china and japan. what would that look like? at what point with the united states have to be involved? >> between japan tried to look like. >> i did not mean conventional
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verse is unconventional. i did not think it would be like the 1930's. i did not think it would be, in essence, a full outward. i think what will happen, there will be an accident. i think you have got the japanese sending up their fighter patrols jets. the chinese have responded and the japanese are talking about firing warning shots. that would be an act of war to do that. you have the coast guard's and the patrol vessels. the vessels of china jousting with each other, bumping in with each other. someone will die. there will be an accident of some kind. then it is a question of what are the rules of engagement each side has. japan is a treaty ally of ours. what we do know is the assistant secretary of state was sent there last week along with the
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head of asia national security council. to tell the japanese to calm down and not push too far. when we read that in the paper, we can be sure the chinese are reading that, interpreting that they have more leeway to push on these things. the conflict can be any type of conflict, but is it -- it is a highly militarized small area right now. if something happens, what do the japanese do? do they ask for conversations with the u.s.? chinese would certainly regard that as an escalation. do they revoke and ask for help in self-defense? what do we decide we will give them. we have kept all of our forces out of the immediate area. the credibility of the alliance is on the line. we say that a lot but it really is. the japanese have been tussling
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over these islands for several years now. if we did not back them up at a time when the japanese military lives ever -- were being lost, we lose our forward base in the pacific an. >> i was going to ask about syria. 60,000 people have died. probably a lot more people have died. do you think the u.s. should intervene or at the very least -- >> i have to disagree you suggested in the beginning serious one of the better developed countries in the middle east. syria has never been one of the better developed countries in the middle east.
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socialism does not work anywhere. least of all -- in a place with no natural resources. syria was not doing well at all prior to the outbreak of this civil war. the problem is that there is no good exit option in syria. there is no good outcome here. this is the argument that underpins everything we have been trying to say. in the beginning, of any problem, it is always easier to solve it. may not come out optimally. you may not get an a or b answer or even a see answer. now, all you can get our f answers. the decision of the united states to not involve itself, and i mean the obama administration, not to involve itself in any way, has done
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exactly what we bemoaned, what fred talked about in libya. it has subcontracted policy to countries who do not have the same tastes that we do. when we look at the blow back from libya and you ask yourself, why is it the people with whom we are now defending -- against whom we are now defending ourselves in benghazi, are such islamic extremists? the answer is because those who were like-minded to us and chose to act in a way that is -- we are lucky because of our limited involvement that we have a government there come a moderate government of people that try to pull an ambassador being murdered out of the situation rather than push him into one. what we will see in syria is
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that opportunist islamic extremist groups and other local groups have come to the forefront and they are well on. the rebellion that began in part secular and had no related -- religious basis, that was brought together by universal opposition is now infiltrated by all sorts of al qaeda and related groups. when assad falls, what will be left is a gigantic, well armed, feuding mess. on the border of iraq. turkey, jordan, lebanon, and israel. it is as if we live in a fantasy world to think the implications of the conflict there have absolutely no meaning for our
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own national security. it is a disaster. what we can do now is try to contain the disaster. and hasten the movement out and insure that whoever is in charge actually is a group that respects and values the kind of values we have, rather than the kind of values others have. >> looked, this is also a case where we are paying the price for having persuaded ourselves that i wrap was a country located somewhere on the moon. and it does not actually share common borders with any place on the earth that is of any significance to us. because we adopted that approach and because the administration decided they were our best friend and the guy we needed to back at all costs, the result is that iraq has been feeding the situation in syria
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in two ways. one is they have been traveling through iraq as the murder people. and the al qaeda organization that was supported from the outset by the logistics base and so forth that a sod had allowed to exist in syria, reversed polarity, and has been radicalizing the movement. now what we are seeing is the continued spillover in iraq of this violence, but also of the real strengthening of the al qaeda franchise. it is time to recognize iraq and syria share a common border. the tribes that cross the border do actually talk to each other. the highways that go between the two countries carry terrorists in both directions. what we are now seeing is a problem that will begin to expand exponentially as the al
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qaeda groups in both countries draw strength from the fact they are gaining in both countries and being supported by others in both countries. we are providing no guidance, assistants, or support, playing no role whatsoever. >> you have to open up the aperture a bit more. this war is being conducted in a regional context, defined by the u.s. withdrawal. in 2008, the u.s. was in a very strong position. nobody liked us but they do not like us now our actual power in the region was at a high water mark. now there are many situations taking it pass syria. the other involvement we did
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pursue is not a recommendation. regime t sure the a s -- the russians and chinese will defend them internationally. at some point, that will go up, not down. the u.s. is increasingly gone. they will be contending for power. great power and sponsorship from russia and china. the suny part of the region, which will maintain some sort of alliance, but not one that we will be able to direct as we have up until 2008, this could turn into something really ugly very rapidly. >> 80,000 people dead is not ugly.
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>> [indiscernible] >> which of our foreign policies toward egypt -- this is another area where congress really has a role to play. administration has decided the muslim brotherhood president of egypt is the guy in the seat. it is completely indifferent to what the program should look like and what the desired outcome in egypt should be. the only thing they appear to be interested in, is the continuation of the israeli- egyptian -- obviously a great interest, but not the only thing that should and made us when we talk about the worst country in the middle east. when i saw we were delivering
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fighter jets to the military, i asked myself what message this sends. the real -- the rule should be not that foreign aid is bad or good and not that military assistance is quarterback -- good or bad. it is the tax payer dollars. it is used to pay tax dollar pare interest. we should take it down to zero and build it anew. does that mean we should give everybody the same as before? maybe it does. does it mean we should give them zero? could be. does it mean we should give them more? also a possibility. autopilot is unconscionable. that is the problem we have. we are on autopilot. i am not talking about this blank contract in whatever country we are building. there are things that are going on and pipelines in our foreign
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aid. the inch -- the issue is the message we send. we become hysterically. put you killed a christian and all of our aid must end. do not do it based on that. that is unacceptable. this should be based on a whole array of questions. treatment of minorities, treat -- religious rights, political rights, economic rights. all of those things are known factors and yet it seems everybody has something better to do than to sit down and have aggressive hearings on egypt, take it down to nothing and built it crashed. -- fresh. . >> i am agreeing entirely with that. on the hill, sometimes, too much, we get caught up on the focus of our values, which is important. but why do we care, at the end
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of the day, about the welfare of individual the egyptians or about how minorities are treated or about these other things? we care because it speaks directly to the ability of the state to govern in peace and control its territory and people and deny that territory and popular support to our enemy. that is why we do foreign aid these days. part of the problem we have in that discussion is that when it was crafted a originally, it was seen as a form of diplomacy. in the overall context of the war, where we were going to show what good guys we were. it has become something else. to become something beyond that. we have a fundamental interest in helping states around the world threatened by the infection of al qaeda. we have a fundamental interest in helping the states in those areas the other -- govern
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effectively and stately -- stable league. happily, our values are generally embraced. that kind of government requires not using f-16s against your people, not machine gunning them to death. , allowing elections to proceed in an open and honest way. we do not think everyone should be like us. this is a question of whether you want states to be stable in the world or whether you want states to be a chaotic hotbed. >> yes? >> [indiscernible] how those two things may relate, looking at state based collecting an analysis as opposed to looking at so much more.
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>> repeat the question? >> the question is about intelligence and the pivot and will it be more state-based rather than looking at non-state actors. i have not heard that much about it. in general, we are state based now. the question is, are we state based enough. we have got china, north korea, the strategic water lanes, you have got the south and east china sea. and you get into territory. qualm. in recent years, there has been interest in expanding that out. we have very few assets. that is really about it, diego. we are using a lot of the means we need out there, such as
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autonomous vehicles to do high- level surveillance, mid-level surveillance, we do not have fire scouts and other things there in the numbers we need. we have not pushed our allies to build them. that is one thing we should be doing. japan and south korea and others, pushing them to build up this capability and share it among themselves. whether or not it is true, but it certainly seems to be at least a viable urban legend, when we find out about a new soviet and -- russ >> russia. >> as opposed to a traditional process, you have to raise the question of whether we are seeing these types of things we need to see. what type of net risky have on
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the ground, how we are working with our allies who are also very concerned. the best analogy is most of our allies are concerned with their front yard. and their front door. when they get out to the street and the intersection, that is where they want the u.s.. they are not concerned about controlling the intersection in the street. that is a problem for us because we have presumptions that a lot of the reasons we have, the treaty with japan, we are not worried about an amphibious invasion of japan today. we want it to take a more active role in the intersection. it is hard to drag them there. those are the things we need to focus on. intelligence collection goes towards a community of interest. >> i will wrap things up. but we think my colleague for being here and all of you. and the rest of our state of
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union policy series. financial service
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objection. mrs. gillibrand: madam preside madam president, i rise today on behalf of t millions of americans who are saying enough is enough. they've seen too much senseless deadly gun violence and are demanding commonsense solutions out of congress. one solution that i've been focused on for a long time is ending gun trafficking. this is critically important to public safety issues, where i
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believe members of both sides of the aisle can come together and agree. we can and should agree that it's time to crack down on the black market of illegal guns that criminals rely upon to obtain weapons that are later used in violent crimes. almost one month ago, the nypd suffered one of the bloodiest nights in recent history when three officers suffered gunshot wounds in two separate crimes within an hour apart. according to the news reports, one of the handguns recovered from the scene was imported by traffickers from philadelphia. another one came from north carolina. thankfully, these heroes are on their way towards recover just one year ago, new york police officer peter fegogski, the father of four beautiful girls, was tragically killed on the beat with an illegal weapon purchased in the black market in
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virginia. i will never forget the faces of slain 17-year-old honor student niasha priard's parents, who i met justeeks after being sworn in to the senate. niasha was also killed by an illegal gun one terrible night when she was doing nothing more than enjoying an evening with friends. accordingo new york city's mayor's office, 85% of the guns used in crimes in new york city come from out of state and 90% of those guns are brought through the illegal black market run by traickers. the sad fact is that more than 30 people die every single day due to gun violence. these senseless killings must stop. we have an obligation to act and prevent tomorrow's senseless deaths by ensuring that guns stay out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously
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mentally ill and to strengthen our laws so that law enforcement have the ability to go after the gun runners and take down these illegal markets. the truth is that supporting the second amendment and reducing gun violence are compatible and consistent. responsible gun owners vehemently oppose any kind of gun violence, the kind of gun violence that struck in newtown, aurora, oak creek, and the thousands of families across america every single year who suffer. we should be able to find reasonable and commonsense reforms that can preserve our rights but also protect our families. because keeping our children safe from the scourge of gun violence is not a democratic or republican principle. it's not pro-gun or antigun. this is an issue that all americans can support. there's no political ideology
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that finds this cruel loss of life acceptable. i was incredibly pleased to see president obama include as part of his comprehensive plan to prevent gun violence a bill that i first introduced in 2009 with mayor bloomberg and commissioner kelly called "the gun trafficking prevention act," which would be the first federal law to define gun trafficking as a federal crime and event scofers illegal guns from being -- scores of illegal guns from being moved into the hands of criminals. we have thousands of laws but effectively none of them are directly focused on pventing someone from driving from one state to another state with a load of guns in the back of a truck that they can sell directly to criminals. it's shocking to me as a mother. it's shocking to me as a lawmaker. but this is something we can actually fix. over the past three years, more than 33,000 guns used in violent
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crimes showed telltale signs of black market trafficking. 420,000 firearms were stolen and thousands of guns with obliterated serial numbers were uncovered by law enforcement. so while law enforcement is working overtime to track down illegal guns and apprehend those who traffic these weapons, current law restricts their ability to investigate and prosecute these crimes. we can all agree this simply makes no sense and leaves all of our communities vulnerable. i am very proud to have worked with my colleague and frid, senator mark kirk, to introduce a bipartisan bill today, senate bill 179. this bill takes on the problem of gun trafficking head on. our bipartisan bill would empower local, sta and federal law enforcement to investigate
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and prosecute gun traffickers, straw purchasers and their entire criminal networks. our bill does nothing to affect the constitutionally protected rights of responsible law-abiding gun owners. by cracking down on illegal trafficking and their vast criminal networks, we can stop the flow of these illegal guns that are coming into our city neighborhoods and reduce the gun violence. law enforcement officials across the country he said that they need this legislation to be able to fight crime. i urge my colleagues to support this bill, and i urge passage of this commonsense nonpartisan, bipartisan piece of legislation. i would also like to now smit a statement for the record that senator mark kirk has authored. i'd like to appear following my statement. the presiding officer:
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we've got to get real with what works and does not. my problem with background checks is that you are never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks. and of the law-abiding people, you will create an enormous federal theocracy -- bureaucracy, unfunded, and people have to pay the fees, pay the taxes. we do not even prosecute anybody right now that goes through the system we have. we will make all of those law- abiding people go through the system and then we will not prosecute any of the bad guys if they do catch one. none of it makes any sense in the real world. we have 80,000 police families in the nra. and we care about police safety. we want what works.
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>> i'm trying to be fair to everybody here. certainly, you have more chances to speak. >> that is the point. the criminals will not go to purchase the guns because there'll be a background check. it will stop them from original purchase. you missed that point completely. it is basic. [applause] >> there will be order. [gavel] there will be order in the committee room. >> i'm going to give you a chance. but let me say at the outset, captain kelly, thank you. thank you for bringing that wonderful, brave wife of yours today to remind us what victims suffer from buy and -- from gun violence. what a heroic figure she is and what a pillar you are to stand
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by her during her rehabilitation. we are so proud of her and of view. and i say with some regret, there should have been a hearing just like this right after your wife, one of our own, a member of congress was shot point-blank in the face at a town meeting in tucson, arizona. i am sorry it has taken two years to convene this hearing,
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but it took newtown, conn. to bring us to our senses and open this conversation. i hope you will extend to her our best wishes, love, and support for what she is doing today and what she has meant to all of us for this long period of time. i also want to say a word about an incident. there was a young lady from chicago, illinois, 15 years old. she attended a university prep school in chicago, an honor student, and she marched in the inaugural parade last week. i can point to one gun store, one store in illinois that accounts for more than 20% of the crimes in chicago. straw purchasers buy the gun there and they end up in the hands of criminals in the city of chicago. we have to put an end to this.
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i'm going to ask a question to the panelists. mr. lapierre, i ran into some of your members in illinois and they tell me, you do not get the second amendment. it is not just about hunting. it is not just about sports. it is not just about shooting targets. it is not just about defending ourselves from criminals, as ms. trotter testified. we need the ability to protect ourselves from our governments.
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from our government, from the police, if they knock on our doors and we need to fight back. do you agree with that point of view? >> if you look at what our founding fathers put down there, they had lived under the tyranny of king george and wanted to make sure these free people in this new country would never be
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subjugated again and live under tyranny. i also think that what people all over the country fear today is being abandoned by their government, if a tornado hits, if a hurricane hits, if a riot occurs. then they will be out there alone. the only way they will protect themselves in the cold and dark, when they are vulnerable, is with a fire arm. that indicates how relevant and essential the second amendment is in today's society to fundamental human survival. >> chief johnson, you have heard it. some believe that citizens have to have the firepower to fight back against you. against the government. how do you conduct your business in enforcing the law, not knowing what is behind that door? >> i find it to be very scary, creepy, simply just not based on logic.
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certainly, law enforcement across the nation is well prepared to deal with any natural or man-made disaster that would occur. frankly, -- i cannot relate to that kind of thinking. >> i cannot either. and i cannot think about the need of that man in colorado having 100 cartridges. professor koppel, do you think that it is necessary for hunting, sports, target practice, even self defense? >> it would be not legal for hunting in most states where there are limits on how many rounds you can have in a magazine.
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as i think you have recognized, the second amendment is not primarily about hunting. what i have been talking about is what the supreme court said in the district of columbia versus heller, which is the second amendment, the firearms and their accessories which are commonly owned by law-abiding people for legitimate purposes. i am talking about what police officers carry, what citizens carry, semi-automatic handguns. >> but those are police officers. >> they are not military, they're not coming to attack people, they are protecting people. citizens protect themselves the same way the police officers do. >> if you can rationalize a 100- round drum that someone can strap onto a semi-automatic weapon, as did in aurora, colorado, killing dozens of people there, saving lives only because it jammed, then you ought to object to the laws that have been on the books for years about machine guns. why are they not allowed under the second amendment?
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>> according to heller, they are not commonly used by law-abiding citizens for legitimate purposes. >> and 100 magazines are? >> thank goodness he had a piece of junk like that instead of something better where he could kill more people. >> that is what is all about? >> it is about saving lives with ordinary magazines. 100 magazines are not used by police officers or hunters. what you are talking about banning is normal magazines. >> the shooter in tucson showed up with two 33-round magazines, one of which was in his 9 millimeter. he unloaded the contents of that magazine in 15 seconds. very quickly. the first bullet went into gabby's head. bullet #13 went into a nine-year old girl named christina taylor green.
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she deserved a full life committed to enhancing those ideas. if he had a 10-round magazine -- let me back up. when he tried to reload one 33- round magazine with another, he dropped it. a woman named patricia grabbed it, and it gave bystanders time to tackle him. i contend, if that same thing happened when he was trying to reload one 10-round magazine with another, meaning he did not have access to a high-capacity magazine, and the same thing happened, christina taylor green would be alive today. i am certainly willing to give up my right on a high-capacity magazine to bring that young woman back, that young girl. let me continue with what happened that day. in that 15 seconds -- actually,
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in the first shot, one man ran out of walgreen's, a man with a gun, with the intent to do the right thing, an armed citizen. he admits he came within about a half second of shooting the man who tackled jared loughner, nearly killing him. we almost had this horrific mass murder followed up by an horrific accident. the horrific mass murder because of the high-capacity magazine and the horrific accident because of the armed person there who, with good intentions, wanted to end the something that was going really bad. >> senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think i am speaking for a lot of people when we say we are heartbroken when a family member is taken through an act of gun
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violence, whether it be a child or anyone else, but particularly children. that is a heartbreaking episode in society. i think most people would appreciate the fact that there are thousands, if not millions of americans, that save their families from home invasions or violent assault because they had a gun to protect themselves. most of us are glad it ended well for you. those are the two bookends. you mentioned, captain kelly, and i appreciate you being here, appreciate your comments about you and your wife being reasonable people. i do not doubt that one bit. the question is, am i an unreasonable american if i oppose this bill? am i an unreasonable american to believe the constitution says
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guns commonly used by the population for legitimate purposes? i do not want to own a gun to attack my government. that is not what i think a legitimate purpose is. let's talk about a real world incident that happened in loganville, georgia in january 2012. one bullet in the hands of a mentally ill person or a convicted felon is one too many. six bullets in the hands of a mother protecting her twin 9 year-olds may not be enough. so i have a chart here. at the top is the 38 revolver. on the right is a 9 millimeter pistol. that holds 15 rounds. does everyone on the panel agree that a convicted felon should not have either one of those guns? does everybody agree that a
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mentally unstable person should not have either one of those pistols? ok, common ground there. put yourself in the shoes of the mother. a guy broke into the home, she ran upstairs, hid in the closet, she got on the phone with police, and she was talking with her husband in real time. the intruder broke into the home, had a crowbar, and found them in a closet. they were confronted face-to- face. according to reports, her husband said shoot. she emptied the gun, six shot revolver. the guy was hit five of the six times. he was able to still get up and drive away. my question is, put your family members in that situation. would i be a reasonable american to what my family to have the 15-round magazine and a semi- automatic weapon to make sure, if there are two intruders, she does not run out of bullets?
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and i am on reasonable person for saying in that situation the 15-round magazine makes sense? well, i will say that i do not believe i am. i will give you an example of where a 15-round magazine could make the difference between protecting a family if there is more than one attacker. back to your point, capt. kelly, and the situation you described, i do not want that person to have one goal of oregon. the point of regulating magazines is to interrupt the shooter. i guess what i am saying is we live in a role where there are 4 million high-capacity magazines out there or more. the best way to interrupt the shooter, if they come to a school house, is not to deny the
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moment an atlanta and the ability to have more than 10 rounds, but to have somebody like you, chief johnson, meet them when they come to the door. that is the best way to do it. my good friend joe biden, who i have spirited conversations about a lot of things, was talking to somebody in california who mentioned the fact, what if there is an earthquake out here and there is a lawless situation? in 1992, you had the riots in los angeles. you could find yourself in a lawless environment in this country. the story was about a place called koreatown. there are marauding gangs going through the area burning stores, looting and robbing. the vice-president said in response to me, he said, no, you would be better off with a 12 gauge shotgun.
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that is his opinion, and i respect it. i have an ar-15 at home and i have not hurt anybody and i do not intend to, but i would be better off protecting my family if there was law-and-order breakdown in my neighborhood. i do not think that makes me an unreasonable person. mr. trotter when you say you speak on behalf of millions of women out there who believe an ar-15 makes them safer, there were a lot of giggles in the room, and that explains the dilemma. the people who were giggling were saying to you, that is crazy. nobody i know thinks that way. which reminds me of the harvard professor who said i cannot believe mcgovern lost. everyone i knew voted for him. i bet there are people on our side that cannot believe obama won because everyone they know voted against him. the point is, we have different perspectives on this.
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the reason i will oppose the legislation, chief johnston, is because i respect what you do as a law-enforcement officer. has your budget been cut? >> yes. >> will it be cut in the future? >> i am optimistic that it is not. >> because of the fiscal state of affairs we have, there will be less police officers, not more, over the next decade. response time will be more, not less. so, mr. kelly, i really do want to get guns out of the hands of the wrong people. i honest to god believe that if we arbitrarily say nobody in this country can own a 10-round magazine in the future, there could be a situation where a mother runs out of bullets because of something we do here.
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i cannot prevent every bad outcome, but i do know and believe in the bottom of my heart that i am not an unreasonable person by saying that in some circumstances the 15-round makes sense and in other situations the ar-15 makes sense. this is why we have these hearings. i really do appreciate the fact that we have these hearings. professor kopel, some people on our side say that it is unconstitutional to put a limit on magazine size. do you agree with that? >> i think if we follow senator schumer's approach and follow the supreme court decision, what
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that tells you is the core of the second amendment is the firearms and accessories that are commonly owned by law- abiding people for legitimate purposes. >> is it constitutional to say 10 vs 15? >> 10 is plainly unconstitutional. magazines of up to 19 are common on semiautomatic handguns. >> i do not know if 10 vs 19 is common or uncommon. i do know that 10 versus 19 in the hands of the wrong person is a complete disaster. i do know that six bullets in that hands of a woman trying to defend her children may not be enough. so i do not look at it from some academic debate. let's agree on one thing. one bullet in the hands of the wrong person we should all try to prevent. but when you start trying to
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tell me that i am unreasonable for wanting that woman to have more than six bullets or to have an ar-15 for people running around my neighborhood, i reject the concept. >> thank you, senator. senator whitehouse. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have heard testimony in this hearing that the federal gun crime prosecutions number, 62 a year, and that "we do not prosecute any." i was surprised to hear that testimony because i was a united states attorney. in my time, it became a priority to prosecute fire arms. i went to every police department in my state to talk about what we could do with gun criminals. we set up a special procedure where the attorney general's office, which has criminal
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jurisdiction in rhode island, view the gun crimes together to make sure they were sent to the place where they could get the most effective treatment. i believe that continues, although i am no longer a u.s. attorney. i pulled up some quick statistics. according to the executive office of united states attorneys, in 2012, more than 11,700 defendants were charged with federal gun crimes, which is a lot more than not doing it, a lot more than 62. the numbers are up at the department of justice since 2001, by more than 3000 prosecutions. we may have a debate about whether more should be done and who at the witness table actually wants more to be done in the way of gun prosecutions, but to pretend the number is in double digits or zero is flagrantly wrong and inconsistent with the type of
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testimony that senators should rely on in a situation like this. i should also mention, repeated testimony from senator durbin that criminals will not subject themselves to a background check. that is that the point. criminals do not subject themselves to a background check, so they do not go into the gun shops. if they do, they are prevented from buying a gun. instead, they go primarily to the main way we distribute guns without a background check, which is to the gun shows. to the extent we can expand the background check, the fact that criminals will not subject themselves to a background check provides the kind of prevention that senator graham was talking about, to keep guns out of the
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hands of criminals in the very first case. chief johnson, tell me a little bit about the men and women with whom you serve in law enforcement and the type of training and screening that is important in both gun use, gun safety, and situational awareness, before they are put in a position where there are expected to defend the public with firearms. do you just give somebody a gun and say, get in there and defend the community? how rigorous, how cautious are
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you about training required? >> the process starts well before we even offer you a badge. it is a very robust, in depth, psychological review of whether or not we will allow you to enter the force itself. all departments are universal on this issue. it includes psychological, polygraph, and other means to determine whether or not you have the fiber to have the awesome responsibility to carry a gun. the training is exhaustive. weeks and weeks of training for how to use the weapon, tactically how to deal with it, how to care for it, how to safeguard that weapon. but it does not stop there.
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once you're in the field, robust psychological services section, yearly training. this talk about teachers having guns -- >> before we go to teachers, to your knowledge, does the military have similar types of concerns and programs with respect to our men and women who serve in our armed forces? >> talking with my associates in the military, it is my understanding that public policing mirrors much of what the military does. >> against that background, how much sense does it make to have our armed line of defense be teachers? >> does the teacher have the nerve fiber to carry that weapon, and the responsibility? you are an educator. you dedicated your life to that pursuit, but you have a side arm strapped to yourself? and you better have it at all times because if you put it in your desk drawer, your purse,
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briefcase -- let me tell you something, carrying this weapon by my side has been a pain all my years. i am glad i have it if i need it, but it is an awesome responsibility. what do you do in the summertime when you dress down? how will you safeguard the weapon from a classroom of 16- year-old boys who want to touch it? certainly -- holsters. i am spending $200 apiece for these. these are all factors. we all face catastrophic changes in our lives as we go through divorce, other things that bring us down. but you need people to step in, like we have been policing, to notice those things and deal with them. this is a major issue. >> we have had cases in which trained police officers who were off-duty responded to a situation. because they had not been adequately trained in how to respond off-duty, because there were out of uniform, that lead to tragic blue on blue events.
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presumably, that would have a bearing on officers, a situation where teachers were trying to defend their school. >> two years ago in baltimore city, an on-duty officer in plainclothes was shot by uniformed on duty personnel, and they were on the same shift. it was just in the darkness of the night. as captain kelly has pointed out, that was a major issue in the tucson shooting. >> sarah mckinley, in defending her home, used a remington 12 gauge shotgun that would not be banned under the statute, correct? >> i do not remember what type of weapon she used. >> that is what kind of weapon it was and it would not be banned under the statute. it proves the point that ordinary firearms, not 100
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magazines, peculiar types of artifacts -- people are quite capable of defending themselves. >> i respectfully disagree. i understand you are also a graduate from the university of virginia school of law and you were close to monticello where thomas jefferson and our declaration of independence and close by montpelier where james madison was instrumental in drafting the bill of rights. i think you can understand that, as a woman, it is very important not to place undue burdens on our second amendment right to choose to defend ourselves. i do not know what weapon she used -- >> my point is, the example you used is one that would not dare an argument against the proposal that is before us, because that remington express is a weapon that would be perfectly allowed.
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>> would it have been unreasonable for her to use a different gun to protect her child? >> i think if she was using a 100 -- let me put it another way. she would clearly have an adequate ability to protect her family without the need for a 100-round piece. >> how can you say that? you are a large man. you are -- tall. you are not a young mother who has a young child with her. i am passionate about this position because you cannot understand, you are not a woman stuck in her house, having to defend her children, not able to leave her child, not able to seek safety, on the phone with 911, and she cannot get the police there fast enough to protect her child, and she is not used to being in a fire fight. >> my point is that she did it adequately and safely with lawful firearms and without the firepower that was brought to bear so that the 14th shot could be fired by a man --
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>> we will have to come back to this. there are a number of things that i could say but i will go to senator lee. >> i want to thank each of the members of the panel for enduring two hours of this hearing. as a more junior member of the committee who sometimes gets to ask questions last, i am appreciative of your willingness to stay this long. i think every one of us in this room and watching on television has been horrified by the incidents that occurred in newtown, tucson, and elsewhere. i do not think there is one of us that would not like us to
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find a way, as a society, to put an end to events like this. it would be my preference if we could find a way to put an end to events like this without doing violence to the constitution and also without leaving law-abiding citizens more vulnerable to crime. there are a number of statistics on this. one statistic i read indicated about 2.5 million times a year in america a gun is used to protect its possessor from a crime. that is quite significant, a fact we need to take into account. there has been a lot of reference today to the fact that the protections of the constitution, protection of the second amendment right to bear arms, are not unlimited. i agree there are limits. it is important for us to focus on what those limits are. the supreme court, in district of columbia versus heller, held that the guns that are within the zone of protection of the
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second amendment are those that are typically possessed by law- abiding citizens for lawful purposes. let's start with you, professor kopel. can you tell me, is a semi- automatic weapon, whether a rifle or handgun, that holds more than 10 rounds in its ammunition magazine, one that could be fairly characterized as one typically possessed by law- abiding citizen for lawful purposes? >> in handguns, some automatics, 81% of handguns sold. a very large percentage of those have as standard -- not high capacity -- magazines between 11 magazine 19 rounds. another thing that is common, to get back to the issue about the remington shotgun, senator feinstein's bill would outlaw that shotgun if it has a seven- round magazine on it.
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it comes with a five-round magazine. you can extend it. the bill would outlaw that standard home defense shotgun, if it had a seven-round magazine. it is all fine to talk about novelty items on the fringe, like 100-round drums, but at practice, what does the threat of being a law, when people are using standard capacity handgun magazines and standard capacities for rifles and shotguns. >> what are the law-abiding citizens doing with these? what are the lawful purposes to which law-abiding citizens are using these guns? >> self-defense, target shooting, all of which are purposes lawful for having a firearm. and in regards to the extra training the police officers
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have. i represented the two police training organizations in the supreme court and i would certainly agree that the police have more training for all kinds of reasons, including having the power to effectuate arrests, which ordinary citizens do not. in the view of the training organizations, they believe the training that is required in most states to obtain a permit to carry a handgun for lawful protection of self. only nine states currently violate that by not letting trained citizens carry. that is appropriate for you, to defend themselves. not necessarily do arrests, but defend themselves. that includes defending themselves in their place of employment, even if it happens to be a school. >> one of the arguments i have heard for making this type of weapon illegal, using a weapon with more than 10 rounds, weapons like these are available
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on a widespread basis. it is relatively easy to buy them, in the sense that most people may lawfully buy them and own them. and that is used as an argument in favor of restricting access to these weapons. in your opinion, does that make it more or less constitutionally permissible to restrict their sales? >> you have hit on what district of columbia versus heller was all about. how often are 100-round draw magazines used in crimes? pretty rarely. self-defense? pretty rarely, too. 70% of gun homicides are from handguns. the supreme court said that the fact these are frequently used in crimes does not mean that under the constitution you can prohibit them.
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the fact and you can point to any particular crime where a gun was misused, that approval to ban this gun or the accessories, that is the opposite of what the supreme court is saying. you do not look only at the misuse of an arm or accessory, you look at its lawful use. does it have common, lawful use. yes, handguns have common, lawful use. handgun magazines have common, lawful use. yes, the ar-15 rifle, the best selling rifle in this country for years, has pervasive lawful use. >> if we restrict access to these guns, we are limiting the ability of individual americans, law-abiding americans, to use them for lawful purposes? >> criminals may misuse something, but that does not constitute sufficient reason to prevent law-abiding citizens from using a commonly used firearm. >> ms. trotter, do most of the gun-owning women that you know
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have an inclination to abide by the law in connection with a gun ownership? >> definitely. >> if we were to ban all weapons that contained an ammunition magazine capable of accommodating more than 10 rounds, would most female gun owners abide by that law? >> of course. >> what about criminals, those who use weapons like these in connection with crimes? are they as likely to abide by that law? >> by definition, criminals do not abide by the law. >> women you know, that you represent, described, what kind of position does this put them in relative to their current position, as their ability to defend themselves? >> it disarms the women, puts them at a severe disadvantage and not only affects them, but anybody they are responsible for, their children, elderly
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relatives, incapacitated family members. >> i see my time has expired. i have one question for mr. johnson. mr. johnson, according to fbi statistics, about 72% of the gun homicides committed each year in america are committed with handguns. 4% with rifles, 4% with shotguns, 1% with other firearms, and 18% unknown. 72% classified as handguns. if 72% of gun homicides are being committed with handguns, would that suggest that you prefer banning handguns as well? >> there are no discussions of banning handguns or restricting handguns from women or any other group. i do not want to give up my hand guns.
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we are here today to talk about a universal background check that would help make our nation safer and limit high-capacity magazines. they are used in crimes and violence across america. >> even though far more people die each year from handgun- inflicted injury than assault weapon-inflicted injuries. >> we believe the limit on high- capacity magazines, even in handguns, is necessary. no more than 10. >> thank you. first i want to acknowledge of the family members out here who have lost loved ones in shootings. i especially want to acknowledge you, maya, who lost her father. i was also listening to all of the statistics here which was important.
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i am a former prosecutor, i believe in evidence. the statistic i will never forget is the one from newtown, conn. shared with me by a relative of one of the young victims. charlotte bacon loved her girls got troop. her girl scout troop once had 10 girls and now there are only five left. we have to remember what this is all about as we look at solutions. as a former prosecutor, i have always believed in enforcing the laws on the books. mr. lapierre, i made it a major focus of our office to prosecute the possession of guns. it is clearly part of the solution. you can not lessen the importance of that as we go
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forward. there are other things as well, including the recommendations that have been made by vice president biden and the task force. it is very important that we explore those in addition to enforcing the laws on the books. i have heard from republican sheriffs from all over the state that there are major issues with background checks. i would turn to that first, chief johnson. we had a guy in minnesota that just came out in the papers. he killed his parents, he got out, somehow got a permit, was able to obtain guns. when they found him, he had 13 guns in his house, and he had a note that he had written to the gunman in newtown and said, i think about killing all the time. he was able to get a permit and get those guns. this just came out in our local paper. what do you see as some of the
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biggest loopholes? we talk about gun shows, internet, private sales, and how you think that could help? and then how do you think you can get background checks done quickly? i am from a hunting estate. the last thing i want to do is hurt my uncle and his hunting. >> there has been great improvement in the nation. it is good but it is not good enough. we are failing miserably, nationally, entering that data. statistics i have read indicate nearly 18 states across the nation submit less than 100 records to the nics system on a regular basis. we have to improve, maryland has to improve. we are not doing enough in maryland. >> is it true that 40% of gun sales take place at gun shows?
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>> that is correct. and other non-licensed dealer sale arrangements. 6.6 million guns through that process a year. >> are more people now using the internet to buy guns? >> i was with my squad before coming here today. they regularly use the internet, penny savers, classified ads. they will go outside the state in many cases. there are a variety of methods. including straw purchasers. >> you talked about how quickly the background checks can be done, compared to issuing a ticket. >> the analysis we have conducted, information i have, i believe it is 92% of nics background checks comeback within a minute and half at a licensed dealer. certainly, that is much quicker than i can write a citation. that should be universal. that is what we're calling for. that will make our nation safer.
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>> mr. lapierre, would you like to respond on the timing of the checks? >> no. 1, the chief is talking about using the internet to do interstate sales. that is a federal crime and should be prosecuted. the only way you can do a sale is having to go through a dealer and then would have to be cleared through a check. the senator from rhode island talked about the prosecution data. i get that from the syracuse university data, which is who tracks the prosecution of the federal gun laws where that is the initial charge. my project is what they started to do in richmond. they caught a drug dealer with a gun. they put signs of all over the city, if you have an illegal gun, you will be prosecuted. drug dealers, gangs, felons stopped carrying guns. so this 62 number was for chicago alone.
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>> i know you want to discuss the statistics with senator whitehouse but i have my own questions. >> gun shows right now, according to all the surveys, are not a source of crime guns. 1.7%. criminals are getting guns on the black market, stealing them, they are not getting them through gun shows. if you are talking about expanding a system that is already overloaded, where they are not doing basically any prosecutions -- it is like bonnie and clyde. they catch one but cannot do anything so they let them go.
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if you are thinking about expanding that thinking to every hunter, every relative all over the united states, when the system cannot handle what it has, you are creating enormous federal bureaucracy. it will only hit the law-abiding people, not criminals. honest people will be entrapped into committing crimes they had no intention of committing. it is an unworkable universal federal nightmare bureaucracy being imposed by the federal government. i do not think these law-abiding people -- >> it is my understanding that when people buy guns they undergo a background check. we are simply trying to close some of these loopholes. chief, would you like to respond? >> certainly, when a weapon is licensed to a dealer, they undergo a check. but 40% of these guns are being sold out of that process. this is not unreasonable. if i buy a gun next year, through a private seller, i will go to a licensed dealer to do it.
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>> mr. kelly, you said it best when you talked about your belief in the second amendment. with those rights comes responsibility. you talked about responsibility to make sure that these guns to not get into the hands of criminals, terrorists, those with mental illness. do you see the background check as a way to get at this problem? >> gabby and i are both responsible gun owners. i bought a hunting rifle from wal-mart a couple of months ago. i went through a background check, did not take long. they were able to clearly determine that i was a responsible person. in tucson and in many of these cases, there are people that would have failed a background check if the right data was in the system, like in the case of jared loughner.
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in that case, he would have had the option to go to a gun show or private seller. i imagine he would have gotten a weapon. he was a pretty marginalized person, and mentally ill. he did not have much of a community around him. i imagine, in that case, if he would have not been able to pass a background check, if there was a universal background check, i do not see him going on the black market to get a gun. maybe if he did, maybe it would have taken him a long time to do that, to find the right place to go. maybe in the period of time -- just maybe -- his parents would have got him on treatment, medication. if they did, from what his attorneys and prosecutors have told me, he would have never done what he did on that day.
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so you might not be able to prevent every single criminal from getting a weapon, but a universal background check is a common-sense thing to do. if we do them for federal, licensed dealers, why can't we do it at the gun shows and for private sale? >> thank you. as i was listening, i was thinking about all those people in the room who have those maybes. we have to do better with background checks, the number of proposals out there provided by the vice-president commission. we can do better. >> thank you. i welcome one of the three new members of the committee, senator cruz of texas. you have the floor. i apologize. the allergies have caused my voice to be so bad. >> it is a pleasure to serve with you and members of this committee. i want to begin by thanking the members of the panel who have come here today. thank you for the time. in particular, capt. kelly, thank you for your service to this country and for your wife's extraordinary journey.
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congresswoman giffords has been lifted in prayer by millions of americans. please know that your family will continue to be in our prayers for years to come. my wife and i have two little girls. they are four and two. no parent -- in particular, no parent of young children -- could watch what happened in newtown without being utterly horrified -- utterly horrified at the depravity of a deranged criminal who would senselessly murder 20 young children at an elementary school. unfortunately, in washington, emotion often leads to bad policies. when a tragedy occurs, often, this body rushes to act.
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at times, it seems the consideration of this body operates in a fact-free zone. i will suggest a philosophy that i think should guide this body in assessing gun violence, and then i would like to highlight and ask you questions on a few points that are salient to addressing this issue. the philosophy i would suggest makes sense is that we should be vigorous and unrelenting in working to prevent, deter, and punish violent criminals. i have spent a substantial portion of my professional life in law-enforcement. the tragedyies inflicted on innocent americans every day by criminals are heartbreaking and we need to do more to prevent them. at the same time, i think we should remain vigilant in
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protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. far too often, the approaches that have been suggested by this congress to the issue of gun violence restricts the liberties of law-abiding citizens, rather than targeting a violent criminals we should be targeting. i would point out, i hope some of the passion we have seen from members of this committee, with respect to the need to prevent violent crimes, will be reflected equally should we find ourselves in a judicial confirmation hearing with a judicial nominee who has a record of abusing the exclusionary rule to exclude evidence that results in a violent criminal walking free and being able to commit yet another crime. i hope we see exactly the same passion devoted to assessing whether judicial nominees will enforce our criminal laws and
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not frustrate the administration of justice. three points i think are particularly salient. the first is, in my judgment, the proposed assault weapons ban is a singularly ineffective piece of legislation. i was having a conversation recently with a loved one in my family who asked a very reasonable question. she said, why do regular people in the machine guns? one of the things that happened in this debate -- the phrase assault weapons ban gets people concerned. much like the phrase military- style weapons. we are talking about citizens walking around with m-16's and fully automatic machine guns. fully automatic machine guns are already functionally illegal. ordinary citizens cannot own them, absent very heavy regulation.
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this entire discussion does not concern machine guns, and yet, i would venture to say a large percentage of americans do not understand that. i want to begin by talking about the assault weapons ban as it was enforced before. i would ask for slide #1. the assault weapons ban that used to be in effect, according to the department of justice, "fails to reduce average number of victims per gun murder incident or multiple gunshot wound victims." that is the assessment of the united states department of justice. that is 1994. that was beginning in the department of justice under president clinton who said the assault weapons ban was singularly ineffective. second slide. the department of justice,
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likewise, concluded the assault weapons ban "under it, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence." so the reaction of this tragedy in newtown is, for a lot of the elected officials, to rush to reenact a law that according to the department of justice did absolutely nothing to reduce gun violence. now, why is that? that is not accidental. the assault weapons ban, if it does not ban machine guns, what does it ban? what it does ban, i would suggest, are scary-looking guns. this is a photograph of a remington 750, one of the most popular hunting rifles in america. this rifle would be entirely legal under this so-called
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assault weapons ban. i have a question for you, mr. lapierre. functionally, in terms of the operations of this fire arm, semi-automatic, you pull the trigger, one bullet comes out. is the firing mechanism in this fire arm materially different from the so-called assault weapons ban that this bill is targeted at? >> no, it is not. >> instead what it does target are cosmetic features. for example, i am holding in my hand a pistol grip. under this proposed legislation, if this piece of plastic were attached to this rifle, it would suddenly become a banned assault weapon. i would ask you, mr. lapierre, are you aware of any evidence to suggest that attaching a piece of plastic to this rifle would make it in any way slightly more
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dangerous? >> the problem with the whole bill that senator feinstein introduced, it is based on falsehoods to people that do not understand firearms. to convince them that the performance characteristics of guns they are trying to ban through that bill are different than the performance characteristics that they are not trying to ban. they make bigger holes, rapid- fire, they spray bullets, they are more powerful, they are heavy armor. all of that is simply not true. the ar-15 uses a 223. i hear all the time people say, no deer hunter would use something that powerful. there are dozens of other calibers that are used in hunting that are more powerful.
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>> so this rifle, which is entirely legal and is used by millions of americans, is sold in the identical caliber as the so-called assault weapons ban, although those looks different, because they have a piece of plastic attached to them? >> the one that senator feinstein uses in her bill, it has the handle on the bottom, which was prohibited, also uses the exact same. >> i am out of time and i want to make one final point. there has been much attention drawn to gun shows. the statistic of 40% has been bandied about. that is unfortunately based on a study that occurred before the background check went into effect, so it is highly dubious. effect, so it is highly dubious. i do want to point out what the
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